Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Children of Henry VIII” as Want to Read:
The Children of Henry VIII
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Children of Henry VIII

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  11,440 ratings  ·  471 reviews
At his death in 1547, King Henry VIII left four heirs to the English throne: his only son, the nine-year-old Prince Edward; the Lady Mary, the adult daughter of his first wife, Catherine of Aragon; the Lady Elizabeth, the daughter of his second wife, Anne Boleyn, and his young great-niece, the Lady Jane Grey. These are the players in a royal drama that ultimate led to Eliz ...more
Paperback, 385 pages
Published July 8th 1997 by Ballantine Books (first published May 16th 1996)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Children of Henry VIII, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Children of Henry VIII

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
Jun 25, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: People who liked Weir's The Six Wives
Recommended to Andrew by: Lindsay
Shelves: history
Best place name: Fotheringhay
Best adjective: bedecked
Best phantom pregnancy: Mary's first
Most unwelcome death: Jane Grey's
Most welcome deaths: Tie between John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland's and Queen Mary's
Biggest asshole of a Pope: Pope Paul III
Most unfit parents: Henry Grey and Frances Brandon (Duke & Duchess of Suffolk and Jane Grey's parents)
Most scantily mentioned former queen: Anne of Cleves
Best hunchback: Mary Grey
Paul Bryant

On that day a dead dog with clipped ears, a rope around its neck, and its head tonsured like a priest’s was hurled into the Queen’s chamber at Whitehall.

This is history at its best, with utterly intense soap opera plots and weird glamorous characters and all of it true. This book picks up where Henry VIII and his collection of calamitous chorines left off and tells the story of the next eleven years. And what eleven years they were. Heads rolled, the stench of burning flesh hung in the air, and
BAM The Bibliomaniac
There isn't any earth shattering information contained in this tome, no new facts unearthed; but Weir has such mastery of her research that it's always a pleasure to read her works. This is the first time I've read about all four I suppose you could call them junior Tudor monarchs in succinct, consecutive order. I've always been partial to the nine-days queen since I saw the movie starring Helena Bonham-Carter in the '80s. I think she's been shortchanged by history. Here she is given a healthy d ...more
Although I wouldn’t say I’m a “Tudor Expert” (okay maybe I would); I do like to think I am well-versed on the topic. I first read Alison Weir’s “The Children of Henry VIII” almost a decade ago before I was as acquainted with the Tudor dynasty. Although both are far different experiences, re-reading this history piece still brought enjoyment (once-again).

Immediately in the first sentence of the Preface, Weir states that The Children of Henry VIII “…is not a history of England during the troubles
Steven Peterson
Feb 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
The title of this book is a bit misleading. While Weir does her usual fine job of elucidating characters and their times, calling this "The Children of Henry VIII" is a bit misleading, since Lady Jane Grey's nine day reign is included. Her story as a child until her brief reign is also told. This makes a great deal of sense historically, since she was labeled sovereign by some lords upon the death of Edward VI and before Mary's supporters drove Grey's "handlers" from power.

The book does a nice j
Oct 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, summer, royalty
Alison Weir always delivers, and it's a pleasure to have one of her books in my greedy-for-more-history hands. Here, she focuses on Mary I, Elizabeth I, and Edward VI, the Tudor Children. She paints the picture of papa Henry and how his lust for power, and women, led him to be father to three different children from three different mothers.

There is even a biographical portrait of Lady Jane Grey, the unfortunate girl caught between avaricious parents and power-hungry opponents. Believe me, you wi
Aug 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
The Royals of England always seem to get a lot of publicity, more than most others. Queen Victoria's reign, the abdication of Edward VIII, the family of Elizabeth II, Princess Dianna, Princess Margaret, Prince Charles, Wills and Kate. It wasn't that much different in Tudor England

As we who have read Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies learned, it wasn't easy to be at Court or a Tudor child. Hopes, plots and fortunes were constantly changing. Weir has a firm grasp of that period and gives us a good
Children of England (also known as The Children of Henry VIII) covers the years between 1547 and 1558 and explores the problems of succession after Henry VIII's death, following the troubled lives of his children Edward, Mary and Elizabeth and of his granddaughter Jane Grey.

This is a very comprehensive book. I liked how Weir did not present the children only by their actions, but also spent some time talking about their appearances, their personalities and their educations. It was extremely int
Jul 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone who is looking for a detailed read about the Tudors
Recommended to Jennifer by: Mom
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
Fresh off her earlier work, Henry VIII, I dove headfirst into this follow-up that recounts the tumultuous period between the great monarch’s death and the ascension of his second daughter, Elizabeth. The title, as many have observed, is a tad misleading as only three out of the four monarchs featured were actually children of the late Henry; the teenage Lady Jane Grey, who reigned for a mere three months after the death of the equally young Edward VI and before being deposed by Mary and her alli ...more
Ghost of the Library
Nov 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Now this was fun!...yes yes one can absolutely enjoy oneself while reading about Henry VII, Bloody Mary and that fascinating family!
Alison Weir may not be a traditional scholar of the Tudors, but whatever she lacks in "official credentials" she amply makes up for it with seriously good research and, most important of all, a clear approachable style of writing that serves as a brilliant introduction to the Tudor universe and, for those more familiar with it, perhaps a pause from the seriousness o
Aug 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is an account of the events that happened after the death of Henry VIII up to the ascension of Elizabeth I to the throne. It is the story of how his heirs; his son Edward, his daughters Mary and Elizabeth and his grandniece Jane Grey engaged in a power struggle. This is not a biography of either of them but a look at a pivotal point in English history. I gained a good deal of insight into the events of that time period and how they all fit together.
Oct 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
A fascinating book that deals with each of his children in turn. This book was very good in tackling subjects which usually get dealt with as a chapter in a book on the individuals. As someone who finds the period fascinating, it was academic enough not to be boring if you know a fair amount about the main characters, but not daunting if you dont. Alison Weir puts the chronology together well, and examines the four characters relationship with each other, how those relationships were manipulated ...more
Jan 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
I recommend reading this book after Alison Weir's "the Six Wives of Henry VIII" as this picks up right where that left off. At his death in 1547, King Henry VIII left four heirs to the English throne: his only son, the nine-year-old Prince Edward; the Lady Mary, the adult daughter of his first wife, Katherine of Aragon; the Lady Elizabeth, the daughter of his second wife, Anne Boleyn, and his young great-niece, the Lady Jane Grey. Weir examines the relationship between Edward and Mary, Edward an ...more
Mar 10, 2011 rated it did not like it
this reads too much like a text book from school and not really my type of enjoyable reading.
Ray Campbell
Jan 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2013
Weir does a terrific job of storytelling. There are histories that are dry and impersonal, this is not one of them. By focusing on a narrow window, Weir makes it easy to connect to the characters in the book as though it's great fiction rather than history. Never the less, her research is amazing and she has many scholarly points to make.

The book begins with a quick run up and review of the reign of Henry VIII in order to set the stage for the assent of his son, Edward VI. It is easy to skip ove
Jan 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, non-fiction
One of Alison Weir's most popular books does not disappoint. Its material flies off the pages and makes you really think about what happened between Henry VIII's death and Elizabeth I's succession. I thought that I would already know a lot of what was in this book, having read a multitude of other books on this period, but I was very, very wrong.

Firstly is Edward VI's succession. A man hailed as 'the next King Solomon' - as such a young boy when he came to the throne (9 years old) he was manipu
Dec 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think people shy away from reading History books is that they remember the boring text books they were given at school, where they would point out the primary and secondary sources over and over again. Zzzzzzzzzzz.

What people need to be reading are History books that read like fiction. Alison Weir is an author that achieves this. And so far, everything I've read by her, I've been impressed with.

This is the story of the four heirs to the Tudor throne. Edward VI, Mary, Elizabeth and Jane Grey
Apr 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
The Children of Henry VIII, by Alison Weir

"The Children of Henry VIII" is a nonfiction history that reads like a narrative. One interesting, engrossing, detail-filled narrative. The book follows the ascent of Edward VI, Lady Jane Grey, Mary I, and Elizabeth I to the English throne. Also covered are the men around the throne, such as John Dudley, Thomas Cranmer, Edward Courtenay, Philip II, etc.

The basic story is known by many, especially fans of the Tudor period. Weir's book is perfect for lover
Jul 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely adored this book...and not just because I'm wild and crazy about the Tudors. Let's be honest, people. Long before Dynasty, Dallas, Falcon's Landing, Another World, and even Passions, there were the Tudors, and they were wonderful! My only regret regarding the reading of this book is that Sundance Channel played 1998's Elizabeth directly I was through, and of course, all I saw during the first screening was all of the historical inaccuracies committed for sake of cinematic appeal. ...more
Reread for a paper on the Tudor period in my British Literature class. I have to admit I enjoy this author's books. While there are multiple books out there on the subject, I did find a few things that while familiar to me since I had read the book before, I do not remember reading about them in other books. I am a huge fan of books about the Tudor dynasty and these biographies got me started many years ago in wanting to know more, and eventually leading me to become a history major. Are there n ...more
To reiterate my review of Weir's "The Six Wives of Henry VIII," I can't believe I read this book all the way through, which says something about Weir's writing skills. Obviously, it helps to be interested in the subject matter, but it really expanded my knowledge on the children of Henry VIII. Of course Elizabeth I's reign would be its own book, but I was expecting Weir to touch on her reign a little bit more. Maybe one chapter - which I know would be hard, but Weir is such a great writer, I kno ...more
Apr 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Loved Alison Weirs 'The six wifes of Henry VIII' and this is picks up where that one ended...i.e death of a tyrant!! The books focuses less on politics and more on the private lives of Henrys descendents and helps us understand more fully how they all interacted with each other why they became the rulers they did. If you ever wanted to understand Bloody Mary better or Elizabeth I this is the perfect starting point.
It does tend to focus more on MAry than Liz but then Wier has written a book about
Jun 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
For all his worry about heirs, he spawned three drastically different Monarchs, one a puppet, one infamous for religious fanaticism and murder and one celebrated as the greatest Monarch in English history. I knew of their adult lives, but reading this really put the pieces together for me and I saw how their childhoods dictated their future actions. I thought it was a fascinating peek inside, so to speak.
Kiesha ~ 1Cheekylass
I love this book. Now, Elizabeth, we want Elizabeth!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Aug 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I looooooooooooove this book and can barely put it down. I will be reading all of Alison Weir's other books once I finish this one!
Sarah Beth
Oct 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
This novel picks up largely where Weir's The Six Wives of Henry VIII leaves off and covers the years 1547 through 1558. It covers the brief reigns of King Henry's son Edward, his daughter Mary and his great-niece Jane Grey and ends with his daughter Elizabeth assuming the throne to embark on her 45 year reign.

As always, Weir does an excellent job of covering her subject matter in an in-depth yet relatively succinct matter, and the evidence of her deep historical research shows. Her writing make
Jul 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, non-fiction, tudor
As much as I’ve already read about Tudor history, this offered an interesting dynamic about how Henry VIII’s children interacted with each other. Despite having read biographies of Edward VI, Mary I, Elizabeth I, and Jane Grey, I feel like I learned more about the royal family and how their actions impacted one another. The scandal involving Elizabeth and Thomas Seymour portrayed Kat Ashley as a meddling busybody. It illustrated how awfully the Suffolks treated their daughter Jane. Mary’s obstin ...more
Apr 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Alison Weir does a great job of telling the story of the royals without adding fiction. The story of their lives are so full of intrigue and drama, there is no need to add anything.

Ms. Weir also does a great job of developing the humanness of each individual in the story thereby making the reader more empathetic to decisions made because of societal pressures of the time.
Sara Jones
Aug 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
If learning about Henry VII is your jam, Alison Weir is the best. She makes crazy history come alive. I read "The Six Wives of Henry VIII" by her as well and it was fascinating. You can't make this stuff up.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • The Wives of Henry VIII
  • Mistress Anne
  • Elizabeth: The Struggle for the Throne
  • The First Queen of England: The Myth of "Bloody Mary"
  • Catherine Parr: Wife, widow, mother, survivor, the story of the last queen of Henry VIII
  • Edward VI: The Lost King of England
  • Catherine of Aragon: The Spanish Queen of Henry VIII
  • Elizabeth's Women: Friends, Rivals, and Foes Who Shaped the Virgin Queen
  • Jane Boleyn: The True Story of the Infamous Lady Rochford
  • Lady Jane Grey: A Tudor Mystery
  • Divorced, Beheaded, Survived: A Feminist Reinterpretation of the Wives of Henry VIII
  • The Sisters of Henry VIII: The Tumultuous Lives of Margaret of Scotland and Mary of France
  • The Sisters Who Would Be Queen
  • Winter King: Henry VII and the Dawn of Tudor England
  • The Mistresses of Henry VIII
  • In the Lion's Court: Power, Ambition, and Sudden Death in the Reign of Henry VIII
  • In the Shadow of the Crown (Queens of England, #6)
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.

Alison Weir (born 1951) is a British writer of history books for the general public, mostly in the form of biographies about British kings and queens. She currently lives in Surrey, England, with her two children.

Before becoming an author, Weir worked as a teacher of children with special needs. She received her
“When these with violence were burned to death,
We wished for our Elizabeth.”
“At six o'clok the young King's terrible sufferings finally ended. After his eyes had closed for the last time, the tempeste raged on. Later, superstitious folk claimed that Henry himself had sent it, and had risen from his grave in anger at the subversion of his will.” 5 likes
More quotes…